• The Low Down

Not all dog owners are irresponsible

The Editor,


I read with horror the article in a recent Low Down about an increasing number of loose aggressive dogs in the La Pêche-Chelsea area (“Aggressive dog behaviour ‘totally acceptable’ to locals,” Aug. 17 edition). I also read with consternation Mr. Claude Lachaine’s comment that dog owners are turning the other cheek to dog aggression and that “Aggressive dog behaviour is totally acceptable to locals now.”


I assume that Mr. Lachaine does not have contact with the majority of dog owners in the area who actually do have their dogs on leash and under control. Given his job as the local animal control person, this is perhaps not surprising. However, in defense of the large number of local (and responsible) dog owners, aggressive dog behaviour is not acceptable, nor are dogs running loose. The frightening Chelsea trail incident has been an accident in the making for some time. Dogs (friendly and otherwise) living next to the railroad tracks have long seen that area as an extension of their own properties and have used the tracks – and now the trail – as their own dog park. I have not walked my own on-leash dog there for many years (he’s 11 now) because of the risk of loose and potentially aggressive dogs. I blame the owners for this. I have personally heard people say that it’s ok to have their dogs running loose — “I live in the country, he-she has to be free.” Well, no. No, your dog does not have to run around the neighbourhood terrorizing people. Mine doesn’t. My neighbours’ and friends’ dogs don’t. Lots of dogs don’t run around snarling at people and biting. But please don’t assume that all dog owners are irresponsible and that we are all ok with having people get bitten.


I hope that this situation can be more closely monitored by the municipalities and that further penalties can be imposed on the owners of aggressive dogs. If your dog has become aggressive and consistently roams, that’s on you. Very few dogs are inherently aggressive; they become like that. Sharing your life with a dog is a privilege. Smarten up people.


Laurie Burdon

Masham, QC